Iron Man (song)

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This article is about the song by Black Sabbath. For the song by The Tansads, see The Tansads.
"Iron Man"
Single by Black Sabbath
from the album Paranoid
B-side "Electric Funeral"
Released October 1971
Format 45 RPM
Recorded 1970
Genre Heavy metal
Length 3:33 (single)
5:56 (album)
Label Warner Bros. (US/Canada)
Writer(s) Iommi, Osbourne, Butler, Ward
Producer(s) Rodger Bain
Black Sabbath singles chronology
"Iron Man"
"After Forever"
Paranoid track listing
"Planet Caravan"
"Iron Man"
"Electric Funeral"

"Iron Man" is a song by British rock band Black Sabbath. It is taken from their second studio album, Paranoid, released in 1970. It was later included on their initial greatest hits compilation We Sold Our Soul for Rock 'n' Roll (1976), as well as all subsequent greatest hits compilations; The single version was included on the Greatest Hits 1970-1978 album.

Writing and recording[edit]

The Iron Man riff. About this sound Play 

Upon hearing the main guitar riff for the first time, vocalist Ozzy Osbourne remarked that it sounded "like a big iron bloke walking about".[1] The title became "Iron Man", with Geezer Butler writing the lyrics around the title.

Butler wrote the lyrics as the story of a man who time travels into the future, and sees the apocalypse. In the process of returning to the present, he is turned into steel by a magnetic field. He is rendered mute, unable verbally to warn people of his time in the future and of the impending destruction. His attempts to communicate are ignored and mocked. This causes Iron Man to become angry, and drives his revenge on mankind, causing the destruction seen in his vision.[2]


This was the second Black Sabbath single in the US, but it was not released as a single in Britain. It got very little radio play in the US, but developed a cult following, which led to enough sales to give it a chart position.

A new version was included on the 1998 Reunion album. It won the Grammy for Best Metal Performance in 2000.

Ozzy recorded a new version of "Iron Man" for the 1994 Black Sabbath tribute album Nativity in Black. Ozzy also recorded a version with Busta Rhymes in 1998 for Busta Rhymes's album Extinction Level Event (Final World Front). The track was renamed "This Means War". The version with Busta Rhymes was included on the Black Sabbath tribute album Nativity in Black II. On his 2001 song "Get Me Through", Ozzy referenced the song in the line, "I'm not the Antichrist or the Iron Man".

Unlike the 1972 song "Iron Man" by Icarus, Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" bears no connection to the Marvel Comics superhero character Iron Man, which was created and first appeared in Tales of Suspense #39, March 1963, seven years prior to the song's publication. The song has since become associated with the character by fans of both; the popular 2008 film Iron Man, based on the comic books, features an instrumental rendition of "Iron Man" during the credits. The film's novelization goes on to also state that the song is Tony Stark's favorite, hence why he picked the title to baptize his superhero alter-ego. In the 2012 film The Avengers, set in the same continuity as the Iron Man films, Tony Stark is seen wearing a Black Sabbath shirt when not in the Iron Man armor, as a tribute to the band and song.

In the film School of Rock, this is the first riff that Dewey teaches the guitarist, Zack, along with "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple and "Highway to Hell" by AC/DC.

Frank Zappa once surprised members of Black Sabbath by covering this song with his own band at a gig that Sabbath attended.[3]

In 2007, Nissan used this in commercials for their pickup trucks.

Mac Sabbath, a fast food-themed Black Sabbath tribute band, wrote a parody version of "Iron Man" entitled "Frying Pan". A live recording of the band performing the song went viral in late 2014 and was covered by numerous international news sources, ranging from MTV to Fox News.[4][5]

Awards and accolades[edit]


In other media[edit]


  1. ^ Classic Albums - Paranoid, by Isis Productions/Eagle Rock Entertainment
  2. ^ "BLACK SABBATH - FAQ version 2.0". Black Sabbath Online. 
  3. ^ "Iron Man — Black Sabbath —". Retrieved 2014-05-18. 
  4. ^ Lutes, Alicia (December 28, 2014). "Yes, There’s Really A McDonald’s-Themed Metal Band Called Mac Sabbath". MTV News. 
  5. ^ "McDonald's-themed Black Sabbath cover band is creepy". Fox News. December 26, 2014. 
  6. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. 9 December 2004. Retrieved 31 August 2009. 
  7. ^ "VH1 40 Greatest Metal Songs", 1–4 May 2006, VH1 Channel, reported by; last accessed 2008-07-15.
  8. ^ Billboard Singles for Black Sabbath at AllMusic
  9. ^ "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Samples)". Retrieved 2014-05-18. 

External links[edit]